Hello everyone! How are you? Today I officially completed one year of blogging! What??????
Even though this was not my first blog technically, this is the blog I have been writing on for a year now (never published the other ones). It has been an amazing journey. So much has happened in these past 12 months (blogging-wise) that I find it hard to believe.
So let’s rewind and see where I was on 1st December 2012.
So I had been searching to do something productive with my time, I had been searching for a job and doing a lot of reading but I was getting bored of it. I also wanted to start writing regularly and improve my writing skills.
So after contemplating for a long time, I signed up with WordPress on 20th November. I had used Blogger so WordPress was a whole different thing. And scary!
So finally on 1st December, I found the courage to publish a post on the Weekly Photo Challenge – Reflections. I got 40 likes on that post in that week (10 of them on the same day) and that is when I realized I was scared for no reason. I could do it. BTW thanks to everyone who supported me and encouraged me in the beginning, I will be grateful to all of you forever.
So now on to the lessons: (Read my, immature, lessons from a month of blogging post)
1. Blogging is a huge learning curve.
When I started using WordPress, it seemed very technical but learning it was fun and I am really glad that I went with WordPress.
From SEO, blog marketing, social media, blogging contests, hosting blogging challenges, content creation, learning to use blog directories etc., I have learnt so much and yet there is so much more to do and learn every single day.
Before starting a blog, I thought I would publish my post (typing in my thoughts) and everything else (whatever it was) would happen. Which brings me to my next point.
2. Blogging is not a get-rich scheme.
If I had known how hard blogging would be if I wanted to do it as a full-time blogger (which I am still working on), I might have only done it as a hobby and given up.
I did not start blogging to get rich or make money online without working, I wanted to do something productive with my time and do something so that I can show it to prospective employers.
As I learned how it is possible to generate a full-time income online, I started getting more serious about blogging (around May 2013).
It has been over 6 months since I tried to make it something other than a hobby and it is still in progress,
I know that there are people who get lucky (of course they work hard) and get their break but many people who have been blogging for years are still doing it part-time. There are opportunities in blogging but they do not sprout overnight. Nothing happens for at least six months for 90% of the bloggers!
In short, don’t be disillusioned by the 6-figure incomes people are building from their blogs. Read about the work behind it and you will know what to expect!
3. Blogging is time-consuming.
I salute people who blog part-time while holding a full-time job. I find it hard to manage both of my blogs while being a homemaker. I do go out and enjoy more than many other people I know but I also spend a big chunk of my day doing blogging related activities.
Reading books on blogging related subjects, SEO, content creation, improving communication skills, social media marketing, ebooks and website management etc.
I have not been able to maintain a regular posting schedule in October and November (and April sue to health reasons) due to some other personal commitments but otherwise I have posted at least 3-4 times a week on both of my blogs.
When I was setting up my websites, I spent more than 10 hours on setting up homepages, fonts, designs etc. And the reason for that is I do every single thing myself, no outsourcing. But I would not recommend my way. It is satisfying but very time-consuming. It can suck life out of you and may leave you wanting to stay away from your blog for a while!
4. Blogging is a lonely activity.
I can’t believe how many hours I have spent by myself figuring this blogging thing out (not that I have figured it out!). If I were in an office environment, I would have people to ask for guidance and also take breaks. Sometimes I go hours without eating, sometimes I eat on my desk (okay a lot of times). I am trying to discipline myself but in the beginning, it was very hectic and chaotic.
None of my friends was a blogger so I had no one to turn to, I had to make the mistakes and learn. It felt like reinventing the wheel. Phew!
5. Blogging is a Lifestyle.
Yes, you read it right, blogging is a lifestyle. When you are a blogger, a lot of things in your life revolve around it. It can consume you (in a good way or bad depending upon how you manage it).
Blogging is commitment that you make and each hour you put into it will help you build something you will be proud of whether it gives you something in return or not.
Depending upon your posting schedule, blogging goals and other commitments, your blog may become your baby. And you would want to nurture it.
That is precisely the reason I think Blogging is not for everyone. I still do not know if it is for me or not (yup even after 1 year I don’t know), I have seen a lot of blogs close. Some of them deleted, made private or just stranded. It breaks my heart to see those hours of work left behind by people.
I sometimes wonder why someone would do it. But I have done it before (with my technically first two blogs) so I can only guess.
6. Blogging is confusing.
This is actually not how I wanted to present my point but it just went well with the rest of the “lessons”. There is so much information out there, it gets confusing. There are contradicting tips and tricks. And constant Google algorithm updates can create a havoc. There are no hard and fast do-this-and-you-are-done rules.
You are constantly evolving, learning and editing, re-editing and re-re-editing your posts because the rules in blogging can change overnight. Of course it wouldn’t matter if you write for yourself.
But if you want people to find your blog, read what you write and connect with you, you have to keep rediscovering yourself.
Actually it is always good to stick to the basics and not try to trick people or do black hat SEO but sometimes Google penalizes websites/blogs for weird reasons. You might be doing everything right and then suddenly you see your traffic dropping. And then you come to know that it was Panda, Peguin, Peacock, Pumpkin, Pappu Google updates and you have been penalized despite not doing anything for SEO, not that this happened to me or anything.
7. Blogging is Fun.
This might have come lower down the list but I definitely love blogging. It is my TV, my source of entertainment. If it was a chore, I would not have been able to stick with for a year.
I do not know what the next year will look like or if I will be able to post on 1st of December 2014 (and making fun of this post). All I know is that I have built something in my free time, something that I am proud of. Something that reminds me that I matter, I have a voice and I can do anything I set my mind to even if it scares me to death!
So to all (newbie) bloggers, I’d say – Just keep at it! It gets easier and better with time!
What are the things you have learnt from blogging?